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Volunteers from 35 counties were honored at the Fifth Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin on March 4, 2013. The awards celebrated the efforts of 65 volunteers statewide who strive to improve their communities through service.
In a video address to the honorees, Governor Bill Haslam said, “On behalf of all Tennesseans, I want to say thank you for your contributions in so many different ways. You go above and beyond the call of duty. Tennessee is a better state because of what you do.”
One youth and one adult volunteer were selected from participating counties to receive this prestigious award. Nominees were judged based on the community’s need of the volunteer service performed, initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem and impact of the volunteer service on the community.
From Grundy County, the Adult Honoree was Y.B. Ashby. Y.B. Ashby’s desire is to uplift the people and accentuate the positive for Grundy County. He has been a pioneer for improving media outlets in order to give the “Good News” to the people of Grundy County.
After moving to Grundy County over forty years ago to retire, his “retirement” has been good for the people of Grundy County. Y.B. started a local newspaper to promote children and their accomplishments. He is involved with the Chamber of Commerce and supports Memorial Day programs and other events to recognize local veterans. He has been the man that made it his mission in life to uplift and recognize the positive aspects of Grundy County and its people.
Mr. Ashby turned 92 the day before the event and was recognized by the emcee for his birthday and all 350 people in attendance stood and sang “Happy Birthday” to this great volunteer.
The Youth Honoree from Grundy County was Zachary Gallagher. Zack, 17, is a senior at Grundy County High School and his whole life has revolved around service. He is a volunteer fireman and mows yards for elderly people and the landing zone for the Pelham Community. He keeps score for the softball league and for Pelham School basketball. Zack puts up seventy-five flags on the electric poles for the community on special occasions as well as flags on military graves. He assists with parades, blocks traffic for funerals, and cleans graveyards in his community. He works in and helps build the haunted house for the fire department and constructs the Pelham Zombie Run. Zack plans to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers by serving in the military. His top priority is service to his community, county, and country.
“Each year, 1.2 million Tennessee volunteers give more than 121 million hours of service, contributing the equivalent of $2.6 billion to Tennessee’s economy. They are the backbone of our great state, and by giving of their time and talents to fulfill needs which would otherwise go unmet, they embody the spirit of giving,” said Volunteer Tennessee Executive Director, Jim Snell.
Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, gave a keynote address in honor of the awardees. She noted that 1.2 million Tennessee volunteers give more than 121 million hours of service each year, contributing the equivalent of $2.6 billion to Tennessee’s economy. Miss Tennessee 2012, Chandler Lawson, presented the awards, and NewsChannel5 weekend anchor, Jennifer Kraus, served as emcee for the event.
“As County Mayor, I am so thankful for the team of volunteers that we have in our community,” said Grundy County Mayor Lonnie Cleek. “Most of you are doing work that no one even knows about. It takes all of us working hand in hand to make this a better place for those in need. All of the nominations that the committee (which is made up of prior winners) received this year were outstanding.
There were many wonderful tributes to those in our community that give so feely of themselves in service for others. It was a very hard task for the committee to determine those that would be recognized by the governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards, however, we are only able to send one from each class and I feel that Mr. Ashby and Mr. Gallagher were very deserving of the recognition.”
Grundy County Mayor Lonnie Cleek will be seeking nominations for the 2014 “Volunteer of the Year Award” in October of this year. Please give thought to those in your community that go above and beyond to reach out and help. Write a brief summary about their service and mail it to P. O. Box 35, Altamont, TN 37301 between now and October 2013. For more information about nominations, call 931-692-3621.
Volunteer Tennessee coordinates the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards at the state level. Volunteer Tennessee is the 25 member bipartisan citizen board appointed by the Governor to oversee AmeriCorps and service-learning programs and to advance volunteerism and citizen service to solve community problems in the Volunteer State.
Youth Honoree Zachary Gallagher (left)
and Adult Honoree Y.B. Ashby